Giving Appropriate Feedback as a Leader | Joe Kelly OTC | Professional Overview
Giving feedback can be difficult. Many of us don’t have the skills to confront people effectively, and it’s easy to worry that we’ll offend someone or generate a bad reaction. Here are some tips to make the feedback go a bit more smoothly.
Use the critique sandwich
This is an age-old suggestion, but it works! Think of two things that the person does well. Tell them the first compliment, then give them constructive feedback, then close with another compliment. For example, you might say, “I’ve noticed that you always do an excellent job on your reports, but they tend to run late. I wanted to talk to you a bit about that.” After you have the conversation about the late reports, you might close with, “I’m glad that you’re willing to take on these projects. You’re really a team player!” The critique sandwich lets the individual know that you appreciate them and that you notice how hard they work, even though you still have to give them feedback.
It’s important to be constructive, more so than critical. Help the individual try to find solutions to the problem. Do they need more training? Do they not have enough time to complete all of the work to the appropriate standards? Listen to their perspective, and try to find a solution that works for both of you.
Be clear and specific about the feedback that you’re providing. Don’t say, “You’re lazy and call in too much,” even if that’s what you want to say. Instead, say something like, “I’ve noticed that you’ve called in three times in the past month and that your performance has been slipping below its normal standard.” Being specific can help you to keep perspective when you feel frustrated, and it can help the individual to feel less like they’re being attacked.
Remember, you work on a team. The individual may have personal issues going on that have impacted them, and it’s important to be willing to problem-solve. Don’t be focused on maintaining your power dynamic. Keep in mind, that the happier your workforce is, the more likely they are to work hard for you when the going gets tough.